Let me start by saying that this car is not mad, it’s a stark raving lunatic with a Jekyll and Hyde personality it’s capable of running 5 sec or under for the 0-100km/h sprint but yet can return fuel economy figures under 7L/100km on the freeway.
I spent a week in the 300 SRT8 and really wished that I had it for a couple more, this car is perfect mix of luxury and performance.
On the outside the SRT8 stands out from any angle the black mesh grille and DRL’s that wrap around the headlights at the front, the high waist line, polished 20in alloys on the side, the black roof on top and the small lip spoiler and two massive exhaust pipes at the back tell you this car isn’t your run of the mill 300c. Ok so the SRT8 badge on the rear and the big 6.4 Hemi Badges on the front guards do give it away but thats not the point.
Climb inside the ST8 and you are greeted with extremely comfortable Napa leather and suede trimmed seats which feature 8 way adjustment and memory function which means not only is it damn easy to find the perfect driving position you can store it as well.
The Leather wrapped steering is thick and comfortable to hold it contains buttons for the adaptive cruise control, audio system and and trip computer which displays a massive amount of features on the lcd screen nestled between the speedo and tacho.
The dash is soft to touch and features grainy pattern, the centre stack in the home of the 8.4 inch touch screen for the Chrysler Uconnect system which allows you to control every function in car from the climate control air conditioning, voice recognition system, Sat Nav and because it’s an SRT8 you get the special SRT8 screen clicking on this and you get a customisable start up page, the system will display 2 different sets of gauges which allow you to keep an eye on the car vitals not only will this system keep you informed of the health of your car but take it to the track and it will also tell you you fastest 0-100kph time, fastest 200 and 400m times as well as your best braking distance as well. This car will take you to and from the drag strip in style and comfort, tell you what your best performance was on the day.
The stereo system is amazing if you had read my 300c Luxury review you would know how much I loved the stereo and the SRT8’s stereo doesn’t disappoint with 19 speakers, subwoofer and a massive 900 watt amp.
Safety wise the 300 SRT8 gets the full meal deal plus more including tyre pressure monitors, 7 airbags, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), Electronic Pedestrian Protection, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Brake Assist. All speed Traction Control (ASTC), Rear child seat anchor system, electronic stability control (ESC), ABS, Hill start Assist, Rain Brake Support and Ready Alert Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) which use radar sensors to aid the driver when changing lanes or if being passed by unseen vehicles. Rear Cross Path Detection (RCP), which monitors for vehicles/objects when backing out of parking spots. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) which use a radar sensor mounted at the front of the car to detect objects.
When activated it maintain the speed you have set the cruise control if the lane in front of you is clear, when it detects traffic in front of you it will maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front. The Forward Collision Warning provides an audible warning if the driver is approaching an object in front too fast, thus helping the driver determine what action to take to prevent a potential collision.
Under the bonnet and yes I know this is the bit you have been waiting for the 300 SRT8 is powered by the legendary Hemi 6.4L V8 putting out a whopping 347kW and a stump pulling 631Nm of torque to say this car is a friggin beast is an understatement.
Put your foot down in it and the result is a force that threatens to push you back into the boot and will take you from 0 to gaol in a split second, how quick is it well being the law abiding citizen I am with no access to a private race track I only got to test the 0-100km time using the nifty on board timers in the SRT settings, best time I could get was 5 sec flat and the scary thing is I could of gone quicker had I got better traction off the mark. I wanted to try the launch control but never got a chance.
Despite the blistering performance the big Hemi is equip with a range technology that helps it reduce fuel consumption yeah I know sort of like having your cake and eating it to. It features Chrysler’s multiple displacement system (MDS) which drops the car down to 4 cylinders which improves the fuel economy from between 5 and 20 percent depending on the conditions.
Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and the engine also has something called a interactive decel fuel shut-off (iDFSO) that will actually shut off the fuel flow when your slowing down to help with economy.
Backing the massive Hemi is a 5 speed auto transmission which may be missing gears compared to other cars on the market but despite this fact the auto worked great it’s changes where slow and seem less and it always seemed to be in the right gear for the occasion that could be because it was able to take advantage of the Massive torque output from the Hemi. The transmission has a sport shift function which allows quicker shifts at higher revs for more performance you can use the steering wheel mounted die cast paddles to change gears yourself. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 which has the same engine has just got the new 8 speed auto so I can’t wait for the 300 SRT8 to receive the same upgrade.
On the road the SRT8 has a Bilstein® Adaptive Damping Suspension (ADS) system that lets the choose between 3 settings normal, sport and track. Around town I found the normal setting to be the most comfortable the 300 SRT8 is quite firmly sprung to at times you do feel some of the bumps but despite being so firmly sprung it did ride rather well which you how well it’s set up. Switch it to sport and things firm up a little more and then switch it to track and it get real firm, my test loop on Wisemans Ferry Rd is not the smoothest road and I found the sport and track settings way to firm for it specially the track setting which did give me a bit of a harsh ride in normal it seemed to be ok. Once I got onto a smoother road and dialed up the track settings the car handled great so I would suggest that unless you find a race track or a smooth road leave it normal or sport. The SRT8 rides on beautiful looking 20 x 9 in polished silver forged aluminium SRT ® design wheels fitted with super sticky 245/45ZR20 Goodyear Eagle tyres.
The hydraulic power steering system is light and offers a decent amount of feel and directness but it’s not quite as sharp in the steering department as something like the VF Commodore I reviewed earlier, although most of the time it wouldn’t really worry you and really I didn’t mind it at all. It is a big car so the lightness when parking is a god send and makes parking easy.
The brakes are awesome while Chrysler gave the car a shot of roids under the bonnet they made sure it had the stopping power to match it with massive 360 x 32mm ventilated front discs up front with 44mm 4 piston Brembo callipers at the front and 350 x 28mm ventilated slotted discs with 32mm 4 piston Brembo callipers at the back.
After a week in the Chrysler 300 SRT8 I didn’t really want to give the car back I could easily see one parked in my driveway next to my Captiva and Gordy the Astra this car has the perfect mix of luxury and refinement backed up with what’s best described as the equivalent of a nuclear bomb under the bonnet is the form of the awesome 6.4L Hemi V8 this car is effectively an iron fist in a velvet glove.
The 300 SRT8 is packed full of features, technology, safety and awesome performance all wrapped up and those striking good looks.
Australian’s have really only had 2 choices if they wanted a 4 door performance sedan and didn’t want to spend over $100,000 for a euro import with the same level of performance now the 300 SRT8 gives them a 3rd choice.
Do yourself a favour if your in market for a large performance 4 door sedan forget the euro’s that are going to cost you an arm and a leg go down to your local Chrsyler dealer and take a 300 SRT8 for a test drive you will be mad if you don’t.
To check out Chrysler’s range of vehicles visit their website http://www.chrysler.com.au